Mogens Lykketoft

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Mogens Lykketoft
Mogens Lykketoft-2011-09-03.jpg
President of the
United Nations General Assembly
In office
16 September 2015 – 13 September 2016
Preceded bySam Kutesa
Succeeded byPeter Thomson
Speaker of the Folketing
In office
29 September 2011 – 3 July 2015
MonarchMargrethe II
Preceded byThor Pedersen
Succeeded byPia Kjærsgaard
Leader of the Social Democrats
In office
14 December 2002 – 12 April 2005
Preceded byPoul Nyrup Rasmussen
Succeeded byHelle Thorning-Schmidt
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
21 December 2000 – 27 November 2001
Prime MinisterPoul Nyrup Rasmussen
Preceded byNiels Helveg Petersen
Succeeded byPer Stig Møller
Minister of Finance
In office
25 January 1993 – 21 December 2000
Prime MinisterPoul Nyrup Rasmussen
Preceded byHenning Dyremose
Succeeded byPia Gjellerup
Minister of Taxation
In office
20 January 1980 – 10 September 1981
Prime MinisterAnker Jørgensen
Preceded byKarl Hjortnæs
Succeeded byIsi Foighel
Personal details
Born (1946-01-09) 9 January 1946 (age 77)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Political partySocial Democrats
Spouse(s)Aase Toft (1967–1979)
Helle Mollerup (1980–1986)
Jytte Hilden (1987–2004)
Mette Holm (2005–present)
Alma materUniversity of Copenhagen
WebsiteOfficial website

Mogens Lykketoft (Danish pronunciation: [ˈmɔːwn̩s ˈløkəˌtsʰʌft]; born 9 January 1946) is a Danish politician who served as Leader of the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterne) from 2002 to 2005.

He succeeded Poul Nyrup Rasmussen as party leader. After losing the 2005 parliamentary election, he resigned his office. In the Cabinets of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen I, II, III and IV which governed from 1993 to 2001, he held positions as Finance Minister and Foreign Minister. During the cabinet of Helle Thorning Schmidt from 2011 to 2015 he was Speaker of the Folketing.

In June 2015 he was unanimously elected the President of the United Nations General Assembly presiding over the 70th session of the General Assembly beginning 15 September 2015.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Lykketoft was born out of wedlock and put up for adoption. He was adopted twice, since his first adoptive father died when he was only a few months old. The second time he was adopted by shopkeeper Axel Lykketoft and Martha Lykketoft. He was the only child in the family and had, according to himself, a safe and secure childhood.[3]

Lykketoft matriculated in mathematics from Frederiksberg Gymnasium, an upper secondary school, in 1964 and went on to study at the University of Copenhagen. In 1971 he became Cand.polit. (a Master's degree in economics by the University of Copenhagen). At Copenhagen University Lykketoft became a member of Frit Forum, the Social Democratic student organisation. From 1965 to 1970 he was part of its management committee and he was its national chairman for the academic year 1968/69.

From 1975 to 1981 he was department head in "The Economic Council of the Labour Movement", a Danish think tank made up of trade union leaders and Social Democratic MPs.[4] He had been working at the think tank since 1966.

Political career[edit]

Member of the Folketing[edit]

On 20 January 1981 Prime Minister Anker Jørgensen picked him to be Taxation Minister. He was minister for less than 20 months before the Social Democratic government resigned. In the 1981 general election he became MP for the Copenhagen County constituency. He has been member of the Folketing (the Danish parliament) ever since, standing for election eleven times. Since 2007 he has been representing Greater Copenhagen greater constituency.[5]

In 1987 he unsuccessfully tried to be kingmaker at the election of a new leader of the Danish Social Democrats. The attempt put him in opposition to the new leader Svend Auken. Five years later he was more successful when his new candidate, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, challenged and defeated Auken at an extraordinary congress of the Social Democrats.[6]

After the resignation of the Conservative/Liberal government in January 1993 Lykketoft became Finance Minister in the cabinets of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (I, II, III, IV). He is the longest serving Finance Minister in modern Danish history.[6] He became Foreign Minister in December 2000 and continued as such until the government lost the general election of 2001.

After Poul Nyrup resigned Lykketoft was elected Leader of the Social Democrats, a position he held until he failed to unseat the Liberal/Conservative government of Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the general election of 2005. From 2005 to 2011 he was the Foreign Policy Spokesman for the Social Democratic parliamentary group.

Speaker of Folketing[edit]

In October 2009 he became member of "the Præsidium of the Folketing" (the unified leadership of the Danish parliament). And after the election victory of the Socialist-Social Democrat-Social Liberal coalition in the 2011 general election he became President of the Parliament of Denmark.[7]

As President or Speaker of the Folketing he has been on official visits to Turkey (2014), Iceland (2014), Slovakia (2013),[8] Greece (2013), The Bundestag in Berlin (2013) and The United States Congress in Washington (2012). He has also been on work visits to Mexico (2014), Palestine (2014),[9] Mongolia (2013), Burma, (2013), Albania (2012), Bulgaria (2012), Vietnam (2012) and Indonesia (2012).[10]

UN General assembly[edit]

In 2013 Lykketoft was nominated to the position of President of the United Nations General Assembly by the Danish government. He was the only official candidate for the WEOG group. When elected he will not resign as a Danish MP but rather take a leave of absence returning to the Folketing after his UN appointment has ended. He will run for office in the upcoming Danish general election.[11]

Israel/Palestine visit[edit]

During his February 2014 visit to Palestine he did not at the same time meet with Israeli officials, this made the speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein express regret of the fact that Lykketoft unlike other world leaders decided not to include Israel in his visit of the region. Edelstein further said: "I do not understand how a visit to Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, goes along with Denmark's democratic values."[12][13]

Lykketoft said that he was keen to hear both parts in the conflict and he had tried to schedule a meeting with the speaker of the Knesset. But he was told that Edelstein was unable to meet him during his visit. During an interview Lykketoft stated: "There was this Israeli reaction from the spokesman in the foreign ministry that it was kind of diplomatically impolite to go to Palestine without having an arrangement with the Israeli side."[14]

In December 2014 he was asked his opinion about the Swedish recognition of an independent Palestine state. He answered the interviewer:"I think the movement in European parliaments and from the government of Sweden to recognize the State of Palestine is a reaction to the observation that the present Israeli government has no intention to contribute to formation of a sovereign Palestinian state, while this is expressed by the vast majority of member states in the United Nations through numerous resolutions."[15]

Personal life[edit]

He was married for the first time in 1967 to librarian Aase Toft. The family lived in Albertslund and was next-door neighbors to his good friend Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and his family. in January 1979 Aase Lykketoft died from an intracranial hemorrhage. He has two children from his first marriage, Maja, born in 1969, and Kit, born in 1972. He also has five grandsons.[16]

Two years after his first wife died he got married for the second time, this time to Helle Mollerup, the ex-wife of Poul Nyrup.[6] In 1986 he divorced Helle Mollerup and later married MP Jytte Hilden. From 1993 to 1997 they were both ministers in the Cabinets of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (I, II, III). They divorced in 2004.[17] Since 2005 Lykketoft has been married to author Mette Holm. They have written three books together.[18]


  • Editor of "Magtspil og Sikkerhed" (Power Play and Security), 1968
  • Editor of "Kravet om lighed" (The Demand for Equality), 1973
  • Author of "Skattereform '78?" (Tax Reform '78?), 1978
  • Co-author of "Anno 2001 – en socialdemokratisk science fiction" (Anno 2001 – Social Democratic Science Fiction), 1986
  • Author of "Sans og samling – en socialdemokratisk krønike" (Sense and Cohesion – A Social Democratic Chronicle), 1994
  • Author of "Den danske model – en europæisk succeshistorie" (The Danish Model – a European success story), 2006
  • With Mette Holm
    • "Kina drager" (China allures), 2006
    • "Kina – Kapitalisme med særlige kinesiske kendetegn" (China – Capitalism the Chinese way), 2008
    • "Burma Myanmar", 2012


  1. ^ "Danish parliament speaker to head UN General Assembly". Global Post. November 29, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  2. ^ "President Ashe meets with H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, Speaker of the Parliament of Denmark". June 23, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  3. ^ "Mogens Lykketoft: I am adopted (in Danish)". B.T. March 31, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  4. ^ "AE's english information page". AE. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "Mogens Lykketoft – Member of the Danish Parliament". Folketinget. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "The Man in the Shadows (in danish)". Berlingske Tidende. November 23, 2002. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  7. ^ "Welcoming address Mogens Lykketoft, Speaker of the Danish Parliament". Cultural Diplomacy News. September 8, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  8. ^ "Paška and Lykketoft warn against rise in radicalism". The Slovak Spectator. February 9, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "Danish Parliament Visit". SOS Childrens Village Palestine. October 29, 2013. Archived from the original on September 30, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  10. ^ "Traveling activities of Mogens Lykketoft (in Danish)". Folketinget. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  11. ^ "Denmarks lykketoft faces new milestone with UN post". Anadolu Agency. November 28, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  12. ^ "Head of Danish Parliament to Visit PA, Skip Israel". Arutz Sheva. February 7, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  13. ^ "Danish Speaker Downplays Decision to Skip Visit to Israel". Arutz Sheva. February 11, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  14. ^ "Mogens Lykketoft, Danish Speaker of the Parliament, on the Israeli Knesset, settlements and establishing a Palestinian state". Middle East Monitor. March 18, 2014. Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  15. ^ "The Conflict Over Crimea is Dangerous for Europe". Fair Observer. December 15, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  16. ^ "Grandfather with opinions (in Danish)". AOK. October 1, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  17. ^ "Five pieces of the man that almost won (in Danish)". Information. January 6, 2006. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  18. ^ "Lykketoft married in Grenland (in danish)". Berlingske Tidende. July 26, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2014.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Social Democrats
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Speaker of the Folketing
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by President of the United Nations General Assembly
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